Thursday, May 21, 2009

Shrinking Violet Review

Shrinking Violet - Danielle Joseph
*May 5th, 2009 MTV Books
High school senior Teresa Adams is so painfully shy that she dreads speaking to anyone in the hallways or getting called on in class. But in the privacy of her bedroom with her iPod in hand, she rocks out -- doing mock broadcasts for Miami's hottest FM radio station, which happens to be owned by her stepfather.

When a slot opens up at The SLAM, Tere surprises herself by blossoming behind the mike into confident, sexy Sweet T -- and to everyone's shock, she's a hit! Even Gavin, the only guy in school who she dares to talk to, raves about the mysterious DJ's awesome taste in music. But when The SLAM announces a songwriting contest -- and a prom date with Sweet T is the grand prize -- Sweet T's dream could turn into Tere's worst nightmare...

Shrinking Violet - an undeniably unique title. And how befitting for a novel whose premise and leading lady are unique! Danielle Joseph's debut is a SLAMmin' success. There's something about the cover image that just pulls you in; kind of shy and in hiding, but at the same time, there's a mysterious, playful air underneath.

Such is the character of Tere Adams. Told from first person perspective from the infamous Sweet T/Tere herself in present tense, Shrinking Violet chronicles her inspiring journey from a painfully shy senior who barely speaks into an enviable young woman who's starting to understand herself. Tere tells it well - the voice in [the novel] is excellent. Quirky and fun, it's distinctively Tere. In her own words, "I was comfortable with my role as the quiet observer" (Joseph 42). And how well she observes the world! Small, unexpected cynically sarcastic comments along the way add a refreshing sort of amusement.

Tere's characterization was credible and relatable. Although most of us probably aren't nearly as shy as how Tere starts out, it's still easy to emphathize with her character. We've all experienced instances of wanting to say something, but feeling too shy, or self-conscious, or doubtful, to voice our opinion. We've all experienced instances of wanting to explain something, but being unable to. And (hopefully) we've all experienced the thrill of standing up for either ourselves or someone else when we see unjust treatment. Shrinking Violet will have readers feeling frustrated and wanting to help Tere out in the beginning. It's magnificent to watch her transition out of her shell, getting caught up in the emotions and feeling that triumphant "yay!" when she experiences successes.

Gavin was definitely an interesting character, as were Stacy and Audrey. However, I would've liked to see a little more depth and development of the supporting cast - but as it's told from Tere's perspective, it's fitting and realistic as is. Her mother, Rob, Jason, Derek, Pop-Tart (aka Kelly)... they're all likeable each in their own way. Each of their flaws only make them more realistic. And it's great to see how they evolve with, and aid, Tere in her journey of self-discovery.

There's a lot of subject matters out there which are now bordering on cliche, when it comes to YA. With Shrinking Violet, Joesph has managed to inject something new onto the scene. This focuses on radio stations and DJs, not exactly your typical reality t.v. And it's great to see more about what goes on behind the scenes, for radio programs. (In fact, the only other DJ/radio book that comes to mind at the moment is Sarah Dessen's Just Listen.) Music is an integral part of Tere's life - I would guess that's an aspect of her life that a lot of readers will be able to relate to. How many of you out there rely on music, while doing homework, running, just chilling...?

The plot... what can I say? Shrinking Violet is a cute YA story about one girl's incredible evolvement from being unbearably shy to being able to hold her own. But let's face it; when it comes to genre, you're not going to find much mystery with this. The ending was pretty predictable. But at the same time, in this context, the perfect-happy-go-lucky resolution works. Definitely an uplifting cheer-up type of read.

Unique concept, fun voice, intriguing characters... Shrinking Violet's definitely got the elements of a memorable debut. Sweet T.


Kayla said...

Well, in response to the comment you left on my Cbox... it was muy fun :)
However..... the climb was a beyotch! :P.
So, how are you?

Iryna said...

I can't look at this cover the same when as before I saw an ad for a cough medicine featuring the same photo . . .

As usual, a fantastic review, Deltay!

Madison said...

Thank you and same to you! :)

Kaia said...

lol, THANKS :)

Steph Su said...

Yes, you SHOULD check the Gone series out! I haven't read any Ayn Rand yet but it's on my TBR list (she's one of my roommates' favorite authors, hehe). Your review here is fantastic, just like all of your other ones--you need to write more, so I can drool over all these books more! Hehe. I can't wait until I can read Shrinking Violet. :)

deltay said...

Iryna - wow! That's so cool, do you remember what brand of cough medicine it was? Thanks =)

Steph - will do :) I've only read the one book by Ayn Rand so far. Haha, thank you! And hope you enjoy Shrinking Violet when you get a chance to check it out!

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